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tv   [untitled]    April 26, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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this farm bill drastic he rye deuces eliminates and consolidating title programs reend placing some with new programs. although most sector of production agriculture are currently prosperous we all know that risks are always going to be there. that crop and livestock prices and production can dramatically drop sometimes overnight. our farmers have told every one of us on this committee that crop insurance is their primary concern. i sincerely thank the chairwoman and ranking member for not only preserving but improving the crop insurance provisions in this bill. change is never easy especially when it comes to changing commodity title programs. if we could see the future and look a couple years into it we would see how the programs we're voting on today will work. i think that would be more comfortable, but that's a luxury we don't have. shifting away from direct and cyclical payments and eliminating share an acre are bold changes to policy and shows farmers and ranchers are willing
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to do their share. the chairwoman mentioned, senators brown and lugar along with senator durbin add i introduced the aggregate revenue and risk management program when the congressional office budget scored to save more thanes 20 $ billion over ten years. it's built from the ground brick laid out by the program including elimination of acre direct cyclical payments. although my preference in the farm bill is have a commodity title that use add crop reporting district coupled with a farm trigger to determine eligibility i accept the producer one-time choice option between a single county level trigger and a farm level trigger with differing payment levels. i believe this is a reasonable compromise, provides more simplicity and easier to understand than the programs authorizes in the 2008 farm bill. additionally with usda's limited resource, the title will be
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easier and less costly to administer. i believe streamlining and consolidation of programs will provide effective tools for farmers an ranchers to apply needed and sound stewardship practices to preserve their farm and ranchland and especially pleased with the common sense native side and grassland conversion language in the build added in chairwoman's mark from an amendment offered. the language does not prohibit a farmer from converting native sod or grassland simply reduces crop insurance subsidy and promotes rules for in our years meaning farmers who convert native sod or grassland must depend on the protection capability of the land to earn a profit not rely completely on crop insurance to taurn profit at taxpayer expense. i also offer in the amendment allowing commercial use of cover harvested from all acres enrolled in crp as a result of mi mid-term requirements. no commercial uses allowed now
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meaning a producer cannot donate or use the hay in most cases it must be burned which really makes no sense when areas of the country are suffering from droughts and shortages of feed. it makes much more sense to allow commercial use of that hay, and i have, and to have the producers rental payment reduced. i've been assured by committee staff current language and report language adequately will address this issue. i'll withdrawal that amendment but will watch carefully to make certain we no long verify unnecessary destruction occurring at taxpayer expensance and i'm pleased the forestry title addresses the epidemic found out in the black hills of south dakota and national forestland across much of southern and western united states. not later than 60 days after the enactment of this bill, the secretary must designate each forest of each state if requested by the governor to carry out additional pine beetle treatment. this carries an appropriation authorization of $100 million for each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2017.
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the pine beetle epidemic is critical and the additional action in the farm bill forest tremendous title is an excellent start to meet this issue head-on. an issue i will continue working hard to address outside the farm bill as well. madam chairwoman and ranking member roberts, thank you and members of your staff in your efforts to bring us where we are today. noted earlier, lots of former chair and ranking members on this committee, as you can see when you're down at the end of the table, at the children's table it will be a long time before i will be a ranking member or chairman but will be there just ahead of the senator from north dakota. i think that's -- just barely. but i look forward to continuing as we work this through the process across the floor of the senate and hopefully on to the president's desk before that important september 30th deadline. thank you. >> thank you very, very much, and let me just note that a vote did start. we will have two votes, just in terms of process. we are going to come immediately back and move forward and get the bill done, out of committee.
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i'm anxious to have everyone come back as soon as possible. but we want to proceed now with senator -- i want to say your add voe cavocacy is very import. we wouldn't have the help for our small dairies if it was not for your advocacy within the dairy title. we very much appreciate that as well as your ongoing strong, strong voice for nutrition. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, madam chairwoman for your leadership and ranking member roberts for your leadership. both of your dedication and extraordinary hard work has led us up to today. i appreciate the great work you did in terms of including some of my amendments in the manager's package. i particular am grateful for the investment in broadband that will make a huge economic engine available for all of rural america including the healthy food initiative will make sure
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that less food deserts in our country. kids can have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and very grateful for the problem insurance for fruits and lereed so farmers don't lose everything if they have a catastrophic storm and i appreciate the investments you've played in terms of trying to help long term dairy reform. i think the transparency you've added both for cold storage and for voting rights is really important, and will help to reform that industry. i also think that the transition that you've provided to allow a better and a safer and more reasonable transition between now and the implementation of the current draft of the dairy title is not only wise but extremely helpful. i appreciate those areas. i've been traveling across north state since i've been in the senate over the last three years, and i've lived intently to my farmers. i've listened intently to all those in ag industries and all those who are so committed to making sure our children get the
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food they need to be healthy, and i know that this farm bill is much more than a set of esoteric numbers. it's very much about the decision wes as we are making t economic growth, towards our agriculture industries and the moral obligation with have to our families that are at risk. so as we move forward in this debate, two issues i want to highlight because i feel strongly about them and have significant concerns. first of all, under this current draft, families in new york will lose about $45 a month in their food stamps, which means the third week of the month, many families' childrens will go to school hungry. that's a high concern for me as a mother. not every state has the population that new york state has. we have 20 million people in our state. that means under this draft bill, 300,000 family, going to be affected. that's 300,000 families that may be more food insecure than
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before and that means less food on a kitchen table for children. so i have very grave concerns about what that tells about us, and what we're going to do for it. i want to bring three issues up about food stamps. first it is such an extraordinary investment for every dollar that you put into the s.n.a.p. program you get out $1.79. a statistic from the usda. second, so little fraud in food stamps. less than 1%. $1. 1 cent for every dollar. not a place people are taking advantage. a place family needs the resources. third, as a mother, our children need food to grow. is the most simple elemental thing a family must provide for their children. they need food to grow. they need food to learn. they need food to be able to reach their god-given potential. so i urge my colleagues who are looking at places where we have to tighten our belts, please, do not ask that of hungry chin. the one place we should not be
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tightening about. these are children who need this fe food. i've been if food pantry, soup kitchens an banks the increase is with families with children. so when we are looking at these balancing issues we should make the choice to increase investment in food stamps with every bit of belt tightening we do we're all proud of the fact that this bill is doing deficit reduction. i urge you, this is the one place we should not increase our cuts for every senator who has an amendment to increase cuts, this is the wrong priority for america. it's the wrong priority for our future. the second issue i care a lot about is, what is the future of dairy in this country? and new york is the number three producer of dairy in the nation. but we have had historic losses over the last decade. hundreds of dairy farms are going out of business every year. over 25% in the last several years have been lost in new york state, because of our policies, because of the volatility in the market. agricultural inputs, like feed
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and fuel, keep rising. but safety nets have not been preserved. so the concern i have with this current dairy title is very simple. right now we are asking if you want to have a safety net, you have to cap your production. now, many of us share this concern about capping production, because we want to export our dairy. we don't love capping production. and so if you're going to have a safety net you have to cap your production. that's a concern number one. concern number two, if you are a small dairy these payments are expensive. thousands of dollars a year to have this safety net. and the return under this new revised program will be less than it's been before. milc has been inadequate because they have never been indexed to inflation. never kept up with the cost of production. the cost of the feed, the cost of fuel. so now we're taking a new program that will reduce the amount of money that will go to small dairies, even if they agree to cap their production and buy this new insurance program. so i am very worried about more small farms going out of business. i am very worried about what
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happens to america if we consolidate milk production? once you consolidate an industry, the next step is outsourcing. i don't of want to have to buy my mill frk china. i want milk produced in america. so i think from a national security perspective we should be making sure we have good, wholesome food production in all parts of the country. so madam clairewoman, i look forward to work wig you on these issues. we'll continue to work through them with other amendments perhaps on the flar but i wanted to let you know where my concerns lie. >> thank you very much. let me make a note to members. we do need everyone to come back for a kwar quorum. senator, we thank you for your advocacy on energy. a big difference working with senator conrad on behalf of north dakota to get a farm level program that makes sense subpoena we appreciate all of your hard work and continuing to work with you. >> thank you, madam chairman, and truly appreciate your work and your willingness to work with us, and also to ranking
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member roberts. thank you, senator, for your patience and your purerseveranc not only knowledge of agriculture but your love for agriculture certainly showed in this process, and i -- i know everybody said it, but i do have to commend the two of you for diligently working through this process. i think senator bennett said it very well. as i've observed different aspects of what we do here, the challenges always, to find ways to bring people together. you know, you've done that. you're doing that. i think we have a product here that i believe we're going to be able to move forward. and that means that you've listened to everybody, worked with everybody, and you've really got the fundamentals in place here that's going to give us, i think, the base to get to a good farm bill. and i know everybody at the table. of course, there aren't too many right now, but when they get
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back, committed to getting this done, because we recognize that's what serves the greater good here. i want to emphasize up front that the number one focus in the true farm program portion of this bill, which we know is about 18% of total cost of the bill. you've got nutrition and then the parts that truly go farmers an ranchers in terms of food production for this country and for a lot of the world. and the number one focus in those farm programs and the commodity title has been crop insurance and rightly so. it is the most cost effective. it's what's enabling us to work with farmers and ranchers and help them do what they do so well for this country. highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the history of the world, which benefits every single american. good farm policy benefits every single american, and when we go down to the senate floor, we
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need to continue to remind everybody of that fact. every single american benefits from good farm policy. so we've emphasized crop insurance which is the most effective, which our producers tell us, that's the heart of the safety net. that's what we need. that's what we have to do a good job on to be successful. but at the same time, saving more than $23 billion. now, show me somewhere else in the federal government where they're accomplishing that? they're bringing the program forward, making sure it serves our constituents, the american people, serves all of them and at the same time is stepping up and providing real deficit reduction. and that's what we're doing. again, that's a memessage we hao carry forward as well. when you look at the 18% of the farm bill that truly affects farmers an ranchers, that's where the deficit reduction is coming from. so our producers are stepping
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up, and they're stepping up in a big way, not just to provide this country and much of the world with food, to do it as i say in the most cost effective with the highest quality food supply in the world, but they're also stepping up and in this package, they're the ones stepping up and providing the real deficit reduction. i want to particularly thank you and i see ranking member roberts is not here, but i will thank him in person as well. in the shallow loss provision it is very important that we include a farm level option. that is vital. i want to thank senator conrad and also senator baucus for their work on that option. i want to thank you, and ranking member roberts for your work on that option. and making sure that we have both a county-ledge option, election, that somebody were make, and a farm-level election
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that a producer can make, and that they're fair, and that they both work, because they both cover vital base, but that farm-level option has to be in there. you've been willing to work with us as has senator roberts. that's an absolute fundamental must in terms of providing the right kind of safety net coverage for our farmers and ranchers, and doing it in true lay cost effective way. i'll mention also the livestock indemnity program, no cost sugar program and you mentioned energy. remember it is about food, fuel and fiber. i'll end on that note. our farmers and ranchers are doing an amazing job for this country. producing jobs. producing a favorable balance in trade and once again providing the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. i look forward to working with everybody. it's vital that at the end here we recognize that perfect is the enemy of good. we have a good product.
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we need to make it the best product we can and then go get passed. >> that's a great place on which to recess. please vote and then we will come right back. thank you. >> excuse me. so the ag committee is taking a break. so senators can go to the floor to vote on a couple judicial nominations. agriculture committee chairwoman debbie stabenow said this morning that the committee could vote on the farm bill today. politico is reporting that support for the farm bill is splitting along regional not partisan lines. some senators from the south do not like the cuts in subsidies
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to rice, peanut and cotton farmers. the bill replaces with a new insurance program to pay farmers if crop and commodity prices fall below a certain level. politico says that approach is popular with corn growers and senators from the midwest. so while the agriculture committee is in its break we'll going to see house minority leader nancy pelosi from today. we have some very special guests today. thank you for joining us. right now we're in the midst of a discussion about the future of
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our country, and that relates to how we make college education, higher education available to as many americans who are -- who are eligible, who want to go to college, and to make it affordable and accessible to them. democrats have always stood for putting something forward that, again, makes it accessible and affordable to american families. it is in the great tradition of our country, the g.i. bill that came out of world war ii changed america. strengthened the middle class and, therefore, our democracy, enabled families to -- to have an education, to buy a home. that's -- and to make the future better for the next generation. the situation, where, for a long time, our republican colleagues had resisted reducing the
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interest on student loans. to keep the rate low. 3.4% was something we enacted in a bipartisan way, actually, with president bush in, what, 2007. that comes due in july, would be raised to -- from 3.4% to 6.8%. that make as big difference to america's families, to our students and their families. and our budget that we had put forth, we stop that increase. the republican budget does not. as recent as last week, a 100% of the republicans voted for that increase in the ryan budget. and now -- and they were saying they're sort of growing tired of this whole issue of the interest on student loans, and thought that was that. thankfully, our president went out, made the pitch to the american people with such clarity that the republicans are now changing their mind and
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coming back saying, okay. we won't have it go from 3.4% to 6.8%, but we're going to make, in order to pay for it we're going to make an assault on women's health. make another assault on women's health. continue our assault on women's health and pay for this, for prevent initiatives that are in effect right now for childhood immunization, for screening for breast cancer. for cervical cancer, and for initiatives to reduce birth defects. a large part of what the center for disease control does in terms of prevention. we will not support a bill that robs peter to pay paul. which ex-tensably supports a middle class initiative while making those very same people pay for it. i don't though what it is the republicans have against the idea that there's a positive role that we can do in a publ public-private way to make
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america healthier. that a woman's health is central to the health of her family. they consider it a slush fund to pay for women's health. we consider it an absolute necessity, and that's the difference here. so we will be whipping against the student loan bill as it is proposed by the republicans in the house. at the same time, millions of women are watching to see what we're going to do about the violence against women act. as you saw a few weeks ago we stood here with our colleague, congresswoman gwen moore of wisconsin. the lead author of "violence against women" act in the house of representatives. 19 years ago 19 years ago, under the leadership of our vice president, joe biden, then senator biden, a broad bipartisan coalition of women members and all members in the house and senate, this legislation took the issue of
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violence against women and children out of the shadows and shown a bright light on it. now we must authorize to -- authorize and strengthen it, hopefully this week our colleagues in the senate will have the opportunity to vote on a bipartisan violence against women act. the house must do the same. we support the gwen moore bill in the house, almost a mirror image of the senate bill. that's what i wanted to tell you today. that's about it. why don't i hear what you want to hear about? yes? >> cbs affiliate in seattle has a now report out today finding that secret service agents actually solicited prostitutes a year ago in el salvador, spoke to a government subcontractor down there, spoke to a strip club owner down there. the vort very credible. the secret service insists what happened in cartagena was a one-time thing. do you believe what happened in cartagena was a one-time thing
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or just the first time they got caught? >> i think what happened in cartagena was disgusting and i think that the secret service has a responsibility to investigate what happened, and i don't know anything about the seattle press report on it. but the secret service has a great responsibility to protect our president and that puts some personal risk to them. that a few of them would tarnish and taint the image of the secret service in this way, in any way, but in this way, is particularly disgusting, and that's what i have to say about that. >> follow-up on that. if this report proves to be true, and there is actually a culture where this is accepted among the secret service, do you think the director, mark sullivan, should have to step down? >> first of all, i don't even know what the report is. i accept your characterization of it. second deliberation i have great respect for mark sullivan as the director of the secret service.
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he is a patriotic american committed to the protection of our president and those in the executive branch, and it's hard -- his reputation is such that it's hard to connect him with any culture of this kind. nonetheless, an investigation a has to take place. first of all, whatever agency of government this might be taking place in is disgusting. the fact that it would cast some doubt on, shall we say the full attention that people are supposed to be paying to the protection of our president, makes it even more worrisome. i don't have anything more to say on that subject. >> this side. >> given that we're facing another trillion dollar deficit this year and that the parties both agree on majority of the bush tax cuts being extended, how much of this battle over student loan, the $6 billion pay forward, is just simply political postures, basically trying to run up some ink? >> i think this is as central to
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our debate as anything. this is about the education of our children. the competitiveness of america. give people the opportunity to reach their personal aspirations for sure, but essential to our success in the global economy that our young people be educated and that the next generation have more opportunity than the last. that's called the american dream. it's something that democrats are committed to re-igniting the american dream. it is part of the ladder of opportunity. education. a rung of the ladder of opportunity. so i don't see it as any postures. $6 billion is $6 billion. we say, okay, we want to pay for it, and we can pay for it by going to subsidies for big oil and gas, and what we see here as, what are the priorities of the parties in washington, d.c.? we say big oil and gas gets subsidies to have incentives to
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drill so they can make a trillion dollars over the next ten years. certainly we could spare some of that money for the student loan, reducing the student loan interest. the republicans say, no. leave the subsidies for big oil intact and let's take it out of our old favorite target, women's health. and that's just wrong. but it is what we come here to do. to debate priorities. their priorities protect the subsidies for big oil. our priority is to prevent breast cancer, cervical cancer, to immunize our children so that they are healthy. and if they think that it's a good economy, a good economic measure, fiscal measure to stop immunization, because it largely is for poor children, that's really very harmful to the health of all of our children. it's important to all of us that poor children get immunized, but
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everybody has to get immunized. >> whether you pay for it or don't? >> this is a one year. next year will be another year. so over time, i think that it's a verily. debate as to where this money is going to be coming from, but you -- you can say that about almost anything. $2 billion here, a few billion there, what difference does it make? well, it adds up to a big national debt, and i will say this, and i thank you for asking this question -- nothing will make an absolute statement -- nothing that we can do, in the tax code or any other place, brings more money to the federal treasury than the education of our children. early childhood, k-12, higher education, post-graduate, lifetime learning. nothing brings more money to the treasury than investments in education. it's the most important decision a family and a nation can make. i think we only have time for
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one more, but, the room is -- >> speaker said there's a bipartisan support for his -- he's citing the support of the middle class tax extension and pay roll tax cut. are you confident as you whip your caucus you'll be able to hold it together and see a lot of democrats vote ---ants there's a unit any our caucus people making over $1 million a year should not have a tax cut extended. and that is with absolute clarity. certainly we support the tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the high end, and what we all support in our caucus is fairness. but that's a place that the bipartisanship seems to ends. that because the republican majority seems to think it's okay to give, in their budget, tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country while making seniors pay more for medicare. as

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